- Non Fiction
Reviews by Alex Found
The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. At first, naive locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge.
"Nobody would have believed..."
H. G. Wells' legendary tale 'The War of the Worlds' begins with the daily activity of a single man and expands to Martians overtaking our world. The true brilliance within this novel is that a story so large is told through the eyes of a man, and we learn only his experience as well as his brother's.
The nameless narrator recounts his episodes under the threat of extra-terrestial invasion. Beginning on Horsell Common and through to London.
Wells' astounding storytelling leaves nothing, and yet everything, unsaid about the war. This is the story of a man and we learn everything of his journey, yet Wells' knows, and plays on it, that we truly wish to learn more about the country and what the Martians are doing.
Philosophical ideas are also addressed deeply without straying from the story or losing pace and suspense. Two fantastic characters are the Curator and the artilleryman. One without hope and praying to the heavens, and the other convinced on survival no matter how extreme. Not only are the characters fantastic but the visual descriptions present the world within various states of war.
There is so much to say on 'The War of the Worlds' that it all can only be captured through reading.
It is certain that H. G. Wells expresses his true creativity and masterful storytelling within this unforgettable tale.
Begun when the author was only eighteen and conceived from a nightmare, Frankenstein is the deeply disturbing story of a monstrous creation which has terrified and chilled readers since its first publication in 1818. The novel has thus seared its way into the popular imagination while establishing itself as one of the pioneering works of modern science fiction.
"Mary Shelleys immortal tale of the creation of life out of death is as chilling today as ever."
I read this statement before starting the novel and, now I have finished, I would disagree with it. It is true that the tale is immortal, but I think it's due to its worldwide recognition but not due to its story. I would ask, 'If Frankenstein had been first published today, would it still gain the recognition it has already received?' Although this debate may seem unsuitable and irrelevant for a review of the quality of the novel, it does influence the way the novel is read and received.
Victor Frankenstein was a student of philosophy from a young age, which led to his discovery of the very essence of life and how it is created. Frankenstein begins to create a creature of human form and bring it to life. Only after creating life does he regret his actions and realise the mistake he has made. His Creature will affect the rest of his life.
I adored the way Shelley writes most. Her vocabulary is fantastic and used broadly. I became engrossed in the novel often largely due to Shelley's storytelling skills and the beautiful scenes she paints with words.
Although the novel was very enjoyable, there were certain qualities which caused me to dislike it somewhat. The structure and pace of the novel was occasionally executed poorly. 'Frankenstein' would often slow down extremely and then become rather rapid without warning. Climaxes in the story also happened very briefly, even after having built great suspense; this caused some key moments to appear anti-climactic. Some areas in the novel could also appear poorly written due to lack of distinct description on what was happening and where Frankenstein was going.
However, even after highlighting some flaws from 'Frankenstein', I do look back upon it with praise. I wanted to distinguish some bad aspects to assure readers that even 'immortal tales' aren't perfect and tales of such high recognition should not be read expecting it to be a true masterpiece.
The finest elements of the novel are the protagonists. Victor Frankenstein and his Creature are truly immortal characters. Mary Shelley also wonderfully toys with our emotions through these characters, forcing us, as readers, to question who we should pity and who we should condemn.
Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a very large and dangerous dragon...
"What have I got in my pocket?"
Tolkien's fantasy masterpiece.
Delving into life lessons through the tale of Bilbo Baggins, Tolkien leads us through a variety of races, environments and spectacular events for the group of dwarves and a single Hobbit to discover and, more often than not, fight their way out of.
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit (also known as a halfling), he lives a quiet, comfortable life in Bag End and resides far away from any trouble, just like all the other hobbits around him. However, Gandalf the wizard marks him as necessary for a quest which a group of thirteen dwarves wish to embark on. Lead by Thorin Oakenshield, heir to a ruined dwarven kingdom, they all journey to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim stolen gold.
Each chapter brings new excitement into the tale and presents Bilbo with a new challenge that he has to overcome in order to reach his goal. From trolls in the woods, goblins in the mines, eagles of the mountains and many more, this becomes a tale of perseverance which leads to a grand finale involving many of the strange creatures they've come across on their way to the Lonely Mountain.
The story of the One Ring also begins with The Hobbit, as Bilbo comes across possession of a mysterious ring which makes him invisible. The ring returns as the central antagonist in Tolkien's epic masterwork The Lord of the Rings.
Although written for children, Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' is a fantastic story which can be enjoyed by all and has become one of the most read of all time. If you haven't read it yet, then don't hesitate to buy it and put it on top of your reading list.
Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has been recognized as a classic of modern political satire. Fuelled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing--both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works.
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
George Orwell’s political commentary through the allegorical ‘fairy tale’ (as emphasised through the first edition title) unfolded upon ‘Animal Farm’ was refused publication many times before becoming available in 1945. With such boldness and unrelenting pace, the novella journeys through the hardships, lies and trials the animal residents endure under the leadership of Napoleon, a brutish pig with dog soldiers.
Beginning with a dying pig named Old Major, the animals are taught a revolutionary song ritualistically sung, ‘Beast of England’, which will ultimately bring about the end of human rule on the farm and let animals become free of their slavery. However, work still needs to be done for the animals to feed, and the lies begin from the mouths of the pigs as they manipulate their less intelligent, and more so gullible, fellow animals into thinking that pigs work as hard they do with all their thinking and use of their brains. Orwell sends the optimistic tone into a downward spiral as greed and power corrupt the pig leaders causing them to abuse their workers but convince them otherwise. George Orwell consistently attends to each of the animals and their roles in the new animal society, developing them in pace with the narrative and concluding them well for the final spectacle through the farmhouse window.
Outdated or not, the humour remains and it is still considered one of the finest books to date. With contextual knowledge on Stalin or not, this is still worth reading and will be for a long time to come.